Never underestimate an incomplete woman!
I have a minor problem that I’ve been trying to figure out.
It would seem that my taste in women is quite removed from the standards of most people out there. Whenever we hold auditions and I say about someone, “alright, this girl is going through!“, I can always hear the booing from the studio and the general public.
Thinking back, I’ve always gotten similar reactions even from my juniors. Whenever I had a girl I fancied in school, I’d mention it to my friends. “What do you think about that one? She’s pretty cute, right?” My friends would then look at me as if I was kidding. “What? Her? There are so many girls that are cuter than her. Why her of all people?” Even though in my mind this girl was absolutely the number one.
It’s true that I do have a large “strike zone.” I mean, I even like girls who aren’t cute. There were cases where I suppose it was no wonder my friends would dismissively call the girl I fancied by just “her.” Quite often, though, when I’d ask them what they thought of a specific girl, I’d be thinking about her not as she was then, but about how she might turn out in the future. As proof of that, there have been many examples of me setting my sights on a specific classmate or an idol who didn’t get any appreciation to speak of, who then went on to change into someone completely different. The more I hear people saying I have bad taste in women, the more confident I feel that I’m making the right choices.
I’ll give you an example.
Nothing affects men more than an imperfect smile!
The power that a woman’s smile possesses is truly remarkable.
There are many different kinds of smiles for many different kinds of situations. Each one of them can excite you, or tug at your heartstrings, or make you go “oh you little…!” and have you experience an overwhelming urge to just hug them.
When I come across a person with a pure smile that comes straight from the heart, I think to myself, “man, that’s so nice.” The smile a girl will have on her face when she wins at sports — is there anything better than that? And when it is a smile born under those kinds of circumstances, the person showing it is usually covered in sweat or dirt and they’re all messy. But even so, they just look adorable. They could be covered in mud for all I care — I’d still happily rub cheeks with them just to share in their joy. The smiles of the winning team at sports festivals… The smile of someone who’s just scored a strike when bowling… The smile of a person who’s eating something delicious and it just shows on their face as a smile. I adore them all.
Similarly, the smiles of Morning Musume when they took the first prize were so lovely. Me, I’m always the cynic — I could never be that genuinely delighted about it, no matter what sort of an award I’d received. “This isn’t going to last. There must be a catch to something as nice as this.” To someone like me, a smile like that would be impossible to replicate. I’m the sort of person who’d have to stare in the mirror, wondering “how does one smile as happily as that?“
You can see why I’m so easily drawn to those sorts of pure smiles.
Lots of women are fun for play,
but when it’s time to marry…
Don’t you find that in any one class in school, there’s always that one girl who everyone calls “mother” or “mom“?
“Mom” is one of those nicknames that tends to stick even if the girl in question was to transfer classes. In fact, even if she changes schools altogether and is surrounded by people she doesn’t know, her new classmates will soon have adopted for her the nickname of “mom” just the same. The characteristics for girls like that tend to include roundish features, a light complexion, and a bright, warm aura. She’s also broad-minded, she takes care of the people around her, and she has a sort of heartiness about her.
Girls like that might not be terribly pleased about being called “mom.” “Why won’t everyone call me by (name)-chan?” “I’m only 16 years old…” But it’s really nothing to worry yourself over. People calling you “mom” is not the same as them calling you an old auntie. If anything, being called “mom” is a compliment — in fact, it’s a sign of popularity.
To begin with: all guys out there are more or less mommy’s boys. No guy out there dislikes a motherly girl. It’s often said that when guys begin to think it’s embarrassing to depend on their mothers, that’s when they first fall in love with someone. In other words, guys spend their whole lives in pursuit of a mother figure. When it becomes too embarrassing to rely on their mothers, they look at girls closer to their own age, unconsciously seeking for a replacement to their mothers.
And indeed: once more they are back to sucking on a breast.
It’s way cooler to be ugly
than it is to be just “kind of” cute!
In the eyes of society, almost all of the girls who are well-liked are the ones who are sociable, have big eyes, great bodies, fast feet, and are always within the top three most popular girls in class.
But let’s say there were 20 girls in a class — I’ve always been someone who’d probably fall for something like the 12th cutest girl of those 20. I like the girls who society might deem “ugly.” If you asked me why I like ugly girls, it might be a bit hard to explain as it’s all a matter of taste, but I guess what it all comes down to is: if they have that one charm point about them, I can forgive everything else.
It feels like society itself is going through a kind of “ugliness boom” right now. A part of it is because of how R&B got so popular. ’99 was definitely the peak year of this “ugliness boom” in Japan. It feels like all those R&B and “afro groups” specifically tried to make themselves look uglier. Taiyou to Ciscomoon’s Shinoda Miho might be an example of this. To me, Shinoda was the first person to succeed in popularizing ugliness.
Note: See here before reading.
The appeal of girls is something immeasurable.
That much is clearer to me now than ever, having been given the opportunity of producing the music of groups like Morning Musume and Taiyou to Ciscomoon. But while I do love women, I’m not a “women’s producer,” nor am I a “women’s critic.” It’s simply that, through my work in the field of music, I happened to become an overall producer of these girls. In the process, I’ve given them advice not only on music, but other, more insignificant things as well. And just like that, they’ve began to shine more as women, too.
Watching them undergo that change, I couldn’t help saying a word or two about the “hidden charms” of girls. That’s why I’m writing this book.
— For this feature, we’d like to have you two writers discuss the topic of “lyrics in Hello! Project music.”
Asai: I actually printed out all the things I’d like to touch on today. I’d hate it if I forgot to mention any of it.
Yuzuki: Wow, that’s very admirable of you. I remember when the two of us did a talk event at the Aoyama Book Center back in March 2014, and we came out on stage dancing to “Ai no Gundan.”
Asai: This was just after the “Dance Shot Ver.” PV of the song had been released. We couldn’t help but imagine how we’d look if we went in there while doing that choreography… I think a lot of people in our audience were left in a state of shock.
Yuzuki: What makes you say that?! Didn’t we get some compliments?!
Asai: This is what you get for being someone who, like, “seriously” wants to attend a talk show by writers of all people.
From the mature works of Tanpopo’s “Last Kiss” and “Seinaru Kane ga Hibiku Yoru,” to the children-oriented songs of Minimoni’s “Minimoni Jankenpyon!,” “Minimoni Telephone! Rin Rin Rin,” Goto Maki’s “Te wo Nigitte Arukitai” and Pucchimoni’s “The★Pucchimobics (Medley Version),” all the way to the strangeness of 10nin Matsuri’s “Dancing! Natsu Matsuri” — we sat down to talk with the man who is behind all these wide-ranging arrangements along with many more: Konishi Takao.
— Could you start by telling us about your beginnings in music?
Konishi: I think I first came to like music upon hearing all those TV anime songs as a child. You know, Mazinger Z and Ultraman and all the rest. The first record that someone bought for me was “Taiyou ni Hoero! no Theme.” That’s also when I became interested in stuff like Pink Lady and kayou kyoku. It was only in junior high school that I started listening to Western music: Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, the Eagles…
— Did you play any instruments?
Konishi: I played the piano up until junior high school, but I can’t really play well or anything. I like to think that I have a black belt in arranging, but only something like a brown or a green belt in actual playing. (laughs) Then I got into fusion in high school, and so I started listening to stuff like Takanaka Masayoshi. I also started a band around the same time and we figured we should probably play something with vocals on it as well, so we’d do covers of artists like Kadomatsu Toshiki and Kubota Toshinobu.
Natsuki Mari, Katori Shingo, Fukada Kyoko, Ogura Yuko, Miura Rieko, Nomoto Karia, Negicco, etc. Konishi Yasuharu is a musician known for having produced or contributed songs to all of the aforementioned artists and more. While the only song he arranged for Hello! Project was Matsuura Aya’s “Ne~e?“, it’s a song that continues to pop up in conversation even today when talking about some of the best songs to have ever come out of Hello! Project as a whole. It was a question on everyone’s minds at the time of the song’s release: “What? Konishi Yasuharu?! How? Huh?“
— Please tell us about when you arranged Matsuura Aya’s “Ne~e?” What led to you working on it?
Konishi: They simply approached my office with an offer. “Please let your guy arrange our song.” Naturally, I said “okay.” Until that point I’d pretty much just met Tsunku♂ a couple of times while we were doing Pop Jam on NHK, back in the Sharan Q days. I didn’t really know him that well, to be honest, and I’m pretty sure he’d only just heard of the name Pizzicato Five up until that point.
— So they approached you pretty much out of the blue.
Konishi: Yeah. And that’s why I first just went, “but why me of all people?” They were like, “well, we want something that sounds French — aren’t you the guy to go to when it comes to French-sounding stuff?” (laughs) Their offer was very specific, so it was easy for me to get on-board, too. “Ah, okay. Gotcha.“